Anagrams: What Is An Anagram?

🕔 Mar 6, 2020👩 WordUnscrambler.NETTag: Scrabble

What is an anagram?

An Anagram is a word that is created by rearranging the letters from another word. As well as using single words in isolation, phrases, and even entire sentences can be anagrams. Although anagrams are sometimes unintentionally present in the text, they are often used intentionally to achieve a specific purpose.

You’ll find many classic word puzzles that use anagrams as part of their rationale. Puzzlers may be required to unscramble the letters of a word to create another, for example, which will only work if the word is, in fact, an anagram.

Most strict definitions insist that an anagram is only valid if each letter from the original word or phrase is used the same number of times in the newly created version. Fed is not an anagram of feed, for example, despite containing the same letters, as the ‘E’ is used a different number of times in these words. In contrast, room is an anagram of moor because it uses the same letters, the same number of times.

Understanding anagrams' meaning can seem complicated at first, but it does become easier with time. As your language and linguistic skills become more advanced, you will find it easy and easier to identify anagrams, particularly in shorter words and phrases.

Examples of Anagrams

Two-letter anagrams

No; on
Am; ma

Three-letter anagrams

Owl; low
Arm; ram
Sag; gas

Four-letter anagrams

Aide; idea
Lacy; clay
Cars; scar

Five-letter anagrams

Night; thing
Parks; spark
Lured; ruled

Six-letter anagrams

Rental; learnt
Potion; option
States; tastes

Seven-letter anagrams

Reserve; reverse
Wordier; worried
Listing; sitting

Eight-letter anagrams

Kitchens; thickens
Organist; roasting
Hustling; sunlight

Nine-letter anagrams

Tiredness; residents
Earthling; haltering
Triangles; integrals
Ten-letter anagrams
Intoxicate; excitation
Indicatory; dictionary

Anagram Phrases

They see; the eyes
A crash; car has
Older and wiser; I learned words

Anagram Rules

It's important to note that both the original and 'new' word created in an anagram must be valid words to be considered a true anagram. While you can always rearrange letters to create something different, it is only considered an anagram if both words or phrases are genuine and valid. However, an anagram phrase needn't make sense or be in common parlance to be considered valid.

In addition to this, it is also possible to make anagrams by using the letters from a word to make a phrase, like:

Dormitory; dirty room

Similarly, you can use a phrase and scramble the letters to create a single word, such as:

No more stars; astronomers

Although the original and newly created words don't need to be related in order to be a valid anagram, many people search for related words, topics, and concepts when looking for anagrams. When words are connected in some way, it often adds humor and is sometimes seen as a play on words. Examples of this phenomenon include:

Senator; treason
A diet; I'd eat
Disaster to earth; asteroid threats

Strictly speaking, an anagram must use the same number of letters in both the original and created word and, of course, the same letters. However, some people maintain that a word created from another word can be considered an anagram, even if one or more letters are missing. Most linguists would argue this is a deviation on the definition of an anagram, however.

Although there are many words which can be changed to create another word, some anagrams have more than one correct answer. In fact, you might find that the letters from one word can be used to create four, five, six, or more words. An example of this is:
Warred; reward; drawer; redraw; warder

When people use the term, 'anagram,' they are generally referring to words. However, the term can also be applied to numbers that fit the relevant criteria. The following phone numbers provide a good example of a numerical anagram:


When are anagrams used?

As many anagrams are humorous, they are often used in prose or poetry. Indeed, some writers and poets aim to create pieces that are comprised solely of anagrams. In addition to this, anagrams are routinely used in word puzzles.

Anagrams regularly feature in cryptic crossword clues and are used as the basis for many puzzles. Rather than using traditional clues to help you complete a puzzle, you may be given a list of anagrams instead, for example.

Similarly, many games, such as Scrabble, require players to unscramble letters to create valid words. Although this doesn't require you to uncover an anagram, they are commonly present in such games.

Although some people assume that word games are somewhat outdated, this couldn't be further from the truth. While people have enjoyed solving word puzzles for centuries, there is no decline in their popularity. In fact, many popular apps and video games are based on anagrams and word puzzles.

Anagrams are also used frequently in education. When children are learning to spell and understand letter couplings, for example, they are often asked to solve anagrams. Similarly, people of all ages complete word puzzles and solve anagrams as part of brain training exercises and brain teasers.

How many anagrams are there?

Many people have attempted to discover how many anagrams exist, but there is no agreed consensus. According to John D. Cook, around 14% of words in American-English dictionary are an anagram of at least one other word.

Similarly, a significant number of academics and hobbyists have attempted to create a formula for calculating how many possible anagrams a word has. While there is much disagreement regarding the accuracy of the data thus far, testing the theories can be a fun way to explore the world of anagrams and will help you to identify new and interesting anagrams you weren't aware of.

Scrambling letters and creating new words from existing ones is a great way to enhance your understanding of words and language patterns, so why not hone your skills as an anagrammatist now?

Word Combiner
Bird + Duck = Bick
Apple + Honor = Aplonor
Hand + Locker = Handocker

Name Combiner
Brad + Angelina = Brangelina
Robert + Katelyn = Robyn
Gregory + Janet = Granet